The Journey

Last week Teirnyon realised the truth about his adopted son…

Husband and wife sat, shoulders sagging, as the devastating truth seeped into them.  Finally the wife raised her head and looked into the eyes of her husband, who seemed to have aged ten years in a moment.

“Teirnyon,” she whispered, as a person stumbling in the dark reaches out for help.  “What shall we do?”

“Wife,” he whispered hoarsely, “We do what is right and just.”

She nodded miserably.  The tears started to flow from their eyes.

The very next day they set out; Teirnyon, his wife, the boy, and two guards.  Gwri bounced around like a skipping lamb, thrilled at the prospect of a journey, but for Teirnyon and his wife each hour was torture.  The journey was completed in a state of restless desperation, both eager to do what had to be done as quickly as possible.

“Perhaps they will appoint us to be his foster parents,” Teirnyon’s wife whispered to him one night under the stars.  Teirnyon nodded mutely.  It was a hope, if a faint one.

They arrived at the court late on the third day.  The pale, exhausted travellers climbed off their horses near the main gate, and Teirnyon’s wife took Gwri tightly in her arms.  Silhouetted against the setting sun, the palace stood out starkly, once such a haven of memories.  But now it towered over them, a monstrous object that was about to rob them of their most precious treasure.

And there, by the gate, was that horseblock, with the figure of a woman sitting on it.  As they approached the figure stood up, and revealed the thin form and pale face of Rhiannon.  Her face became tight and expressionless as their eyes met.  A little piece of Teirnyon’s heart, what was left of it, went out to her.  She flung out her arm and the travellers stopped.

“Go no further, lord,” she declared, head held high, “I will carry each one of you into the palace, and this is my punishment for killing my own son.”

He would not be carried by a woman unjustly accused.  “Lady Rhiannon,” Teirnyon bowed, “Don’t think I will be one of those that you carry.  None of us will be.”

Her face softened slightly, “I thank you.”  She glanced at the sun, “It’s time for dinner.  Let’s walk together.”

They walked silently through the gates and to the great hall.  Teirnyon stole glances at her.  She looked at the ground the entire time, obviously not suspicious at all.